Many Americans spend more time at work than they do at home, so it is essential to master diabetes management even in the work environment.

Alongside stress, work can make it difficult to meet nutritional and movement goals, which are proven to improve A1c and health outcomes. Keeping your health under control in a strenuous work environment is truly a balancing act. Read on to discover strategies to maintain your blood sugar goals and continue to improve your healthy lifestyle while at the office!

Diabetes Distress

According to the American Institute of Stress, job stress is by far the largest source of stress among American adults. Stress can put the body into fight-or-flight mode due to high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). This can manifest physically, contributing to problems such as headaches, stomachaches, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, and even raised blood pressure, weakening the immune system.

In people with diabetes, it may also contribute to high sugars and further diminish work output due to the effects like fatigue and blurred vision. Let’s think of some ideas to help keep stress levels at bay when work feels like it’s taking over.

stress Track your stressors: Keep a journal to identify specific causes of stress and how you dealt with them–was your response helpful? If not, how can you change it next time?

Keep a photo or memento at your desk that brings you joy: Positive memories are shown to lower blood pressure and, thus, stress levels!

Establish boundaries: To reduce work pressure, make sure that time at home is work-free and that you have space to relax and recharge.

Always remember that you can (and should!) talk to your manager or supervisor about your needs personally and in managing your diabetes. Developing an understanding with them will increase your comfort level with taking steps to manage your diabetes at work and establish that your health is your top priority. 

Get Moving!

Many people sit at a desk all day at work. It is important to stay active and moving, even during long work days! Here are some ideas to help you get your steps in on a daily basis:

Eat lunch at your desk, then go for a walk during your lunch break!  Bring your favorite coworker or listen to a good podcast or audiobook!

Try a standing desk or desk riser, extra points if you can use a walking pad!

Get up once or twice an hour and walk down the hall, up/down stairs, or just stretch. Any movement helps!

Bring your resistance bands to work – doing small exercises at your desk can act as a stress reliever and increase productivity all while helping you get in some activity.


Healthy eating is one of the biggest and most modifiable factors of lifestyle management. Work can be a challenging place to meet your nutritional goals, especially when supervisors and coworkers bring in unhealthy snacks and candy to celebrate birthdays, milestones, or just for simple motivation. It’s alright to indulge every once in a while, but try not to make it a habit! To curb the desire to help those goodies disappear, take the following steps:

Keep a small water bottle at your desk and drink up – not only does drinking lots of water keep you full longer, but it can also get you moving to fill up your water bottle and empty your bladder!

Bring healthy snacks to work for yourself or to share – fruit, veggies, and nuts are all healthy options that are easily accessible and keep you satiated.

Pack a lunch! I don’t know about you, but my coworkers like to eat out A LOT. Save some calories (and money) by bringing healthier options from home.

Summary Do your best, but cut yourself some slack, too. Some days, it may be impossible to hit your stress, activity, and nutritional goals. If you put your mind to it, you can do anything. Make work a safe place where you can be comfortable moving and eating healthy and taking your medications. Ensure you have a good support system to help you with your diabetes goals at home and at work. Let’s take control of our health!